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Mahabharata Podcast

This podcast is for anyone interested in the epic literature of India, its spiritual philosophy, the life & background of Krishna, or any of the fascinating stories of the great epic the Mahabharata.

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audio 101

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TOPIC
Krishna 19
Bhisma 10
Arjun 9
Karna 9
Duryodhana 8
Kurukshetra 8
Bhima 7
Ashwatthaman 5
Pandavas 5
Rama Jamadagnya 5
Vyasa 5
Abhimanyu 4
Arjuna 4
Draupadi 4
Indra 4
Kunti 4
Mahabharata 4
Markandeya 4
Parashurama 4
Parikshit 4
Balaram 3
Balarama 3
Dhrtarastra 3
Durvasas 3
Gatotkacha 3
Jayadratha 3
Kamsa 3
Krpa 3
Narada 3
Sanjay 3
Satyavati 3
Shiva 3
Sikhandin 3
Vimana 3
Virata 3
Yuyutsu 3
Agastya 2
Alambusha 2
Amba 2
Astika 2
Bhagavad Gita 2
Bhakti 2
Bhimasena 2
Buddhism 2
Cyavana 2
Dhrstadyumna 2
Drona 2
Drupad 2
Dushasan 2
Indraprastha 2
Jarasandh 2
Kauravas 2
Kubera 2
Nahusha 2
Nar-Narayan 2
Panchala 2
Puru 2
Rukmi 2
Rukmini 2
Samvarta 2
Santanu 2
Satyabhama 2
Shakuni 2
Shalva 2
Shalya 2
Sishupal 2
Sukanya 2
Uttara 2
Vasudeva 2
Vasuki 2
Vidur 2
Yaksha 2
Yayati 2
Yudhistira 2
Agneya 1
Ancient India 1
Anga 1
Anugita 1
Aranyaka Parva 1
Arstisena 1
Ashwamedha 1
Barghava 1
Bharata 1
Bhrgu 1
Bhurishravas 1
Brahma-head 1
Brhadashva 1
Brhaspati 1
Channeling 1
Charvaka 1
Citrangada 1
Daityas 1
Daksha 1
Damayanti 1
Danavas 1
Daruka 1
Daushasani 1
Devaki 1
Devayani 1
Dhananjaya 1
Dharma 1
Dhritarastra 1
Dice Game 1
Draupadeyas 1
Drona Parva 1
Drupada 1
Dushanta 1
Dvapar 1
Dvaparyuga 1
Dyaus 1
Epic 1
False Vasudev 1
Ganga 1
Gautama 1
Ghandara 1
Ghandari 1
Ghandiva Bow 1
Ghatotkacha 1
Gopi 1
Gudakesha 1
Gunas 1
Hanuman 1
India 1
Iravat 1
Janaka 1
Janamejaya 1
Janemejaya 1
Jantu 1
Jaratkaru 1
Joseph Selbie 1
Kali 1
Kalinga 1
Kaliyuga 1
Kanva 1
Kanyaka forest 1
Karma Yoga 1
Kaurava 1
Kaushika 1
Kicaka 1
Krtavarman 1
Kuru 1
Lomasha 1
Madhusudana 1
Madri 1
Magadha 1
Mahabharat 1
Maitreya 1
Mandhatar 1
Manimat 1
Manipur 1
Marutta 1
Matali 1
Mithila 1
Mountain Man 1
Mudgala 1
Naimisha Forest 1
Nakula 1
Nala 1
Narayana 1
Nivatakavacas 1
Panchali 1
Pandu 1
Partha 1
Parvata 1
Podcast 1
Pradyumna 1
Precession 1
Radha 1
Rajadharman 1
Rajasuya 1
Rakshasa 1
Rama Dasharathi 1
Ramayana 1
Rshyashrnga 1
Sachi 1
Sahadev 1
Samba 1
Sanatsujata 1
Sarmishta 1
Satayupa 1
Satyaka 1
Satyaki 1
Saubha 1
Saubha Vimana 1
Saumakas 1
Savitri 1
Shakuntala 1
Shukra 1
Sikhandi 1
Sindh 1
Snake Sacrifice 1
Sri Yukteshvar 1
Srngn 1
Subhadra 1
Sudeshna 1
Suka 1
Surya 1
Susharman 1
Suvarnashthivin 1
Svargarohanika Parva 1
SHOW DETAILS
Title
Date Published
Creator
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
439
0
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We begin the Book of Peace, the Shanti Parva. After boasting to his uncle about his special clairvoyant powers, Yuddistira is blindsided by the news that he & Karna shared the same mother. Now the Dharma Raja has learned that he killed his own brother-- aside from killing one's parents, perhaps one of the worst things a person could do. The brothers spend a month outside in the city walls as a sort of penance, and are joined by the great sages of the ancient world. Narada comforts the...
Topics: Karna, Parashurama, Rama Jamadagnya
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
496
0
0
Sanjay returns to Hastinapur with messages and intelligence from the Pandava camp. The king's charioteer delivers this information before the royal assembly, while Dhrarastra, Duryodhana, Bhisma and Karna argue over the significance of these threats. Having gone a good long while since Karna last washed his feet, the mess must have started getting to him, because he finally blows his top at Bhisma and swears he will not fight until Bhisma is dead. In the course of this debate, we get hints at...
Topics: Bhakti, Brahma-head, Karna, Parashurama, Sanjay, Sikhandin
I know it feels like this war is really dragging on; but I think that is precisely how Vyasa wanted us to feel by this point in the battle. We are all getting tired of the unending violence. Even the main cause of all the violence, Bhisma, is getting tired of this, and he has begun looking for a way out. On day 9, the old Kuru apparently relieved himself of the last of his commitments, which was to wipe out the army of the Saumakas. Now the only thing left for him to do was to find the most...
Topics: Kurukshetra, Bhisma, Saumakas, Pandavas, Arjun, Sikhandin
This is a big day in the war. Bhisma fulfills one of his oaths by killing Dushasan and drinking his blood. Now he will be gunning for Duryodhana. Arjun & Karna finally get busy with their final showdown. The whole universe apparently took sides in this conflict, with everyone choosing a champion to cheer for. The pair begin fighting with conventional weapons, but soon escalate to magical weapons. At one point, Arjun gets the upper hand, and strikes Karna until he's lost his wits and drops...
Topics: Dushasan, Karna
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
445
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Krishna returns from his mission to Hastinpur with war on his mind. Yuddistira, having spent the last 12-14 years undergoing massive hardship to prevent this war, is reluctant to accept this truth. He begs for more information, trying to find any way out of this situation. So Krishna obliges by giving us the details of a few more speeches made in the Kuru court, but none of it helps. War is truly inevitable. So both sides round up their armies and march on Kurukshetra. When they arrive, each...
Topics: Bhisma, Drupad, Kurukshetra
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
513
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0
Despite the offensive raid on their camp by Jayadratha, old Markandeya is still hanging out with the Pandavas. Yuddistira, feeling sorry for himself and for Draupadi, goes to him for consolation. Markandeya replies with the entire story of the Ramayana. I've spared you the re-telling of that epic, since it would have us out on a sidetrack for possibly months, and, really, the Ramayana deserves a podcast of its own, right? So, jumping over that chapter, we find ourselves back where we were;...
Topics: Rama Dasharathi, Ramayana, Savitri
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
507
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0
The Pandavas are now settled into their forest encampment and receive a surprise visitor. The Kauravas plot to kill the Pandavas while they are defenseless in the forest. Vyasa himself steps in to put a stop to this outrage, and he then introduces the sage Maitreya, who scolds Duryodhana, and then finally curses him to be struck in the "thigh" by Bhima. If you ever felt uncomfortable about the fact that Bhima had to cheat and hit Duryodhana below the belt in their final battle, you...
Topics: Bhima, Maitreya, Pandavas, Duryodhana
The Sage Markandeya continues with his storytelling. He begins with his own version of the Four Ages or Yugas. One interesting point is that in his reckoning, the Kali Yuga lasts 1,200 years in total. Since we are told elsewhere that the Kali Yuga began for us on the death of Krishna, then the Kali Yuga must have ended centuries ago, and we happy people have made it into the next Golden Age! After an apocalyptic vision of the future, Makandeya gives us the Tale of the Frog, which culminates in...
Topic: Markandeya
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
448
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0
The third and fourth days of the great war. It seems like the tide may be turning somewhat, since both days of fighting were dominated by Arjun and Bhimasena. Despite having the honor of receiving Krishna's teaching firsthand, Arjun still seems to be holding back somewhat. His lassitude gets so bad that Krishna finally gets annoyed with him, and takes matters in his own hands. Contrary to the way I've always heard the story told, Krishna does not take any consideration for his oath not to...
Topics: Kurukshetra, Arjun, Bhima, Krishna, Abhimanyu
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
542
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The Pandavas send away their hangers-on, and enter hiding at the kingdom of the Matsyas, in the service of King Virata. Things go well for the first 10 months, but then the king's brother-in-law gets smitten with the Queen's new serving girl. Kicaka takes his infatuation a little too far, and Bhima ends up restoring her virtue the hard way. By the end of this ordeal, everyone is terrified of Draupadi and her Gandharva husbands. King Virata is so frightened of her that he sends the queen to beg...
Topics: Kicaka, Sudeshna, Virata
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
553
0
0
At the end of the First Dice Game, it really seemed like King Dhritarastra had put everything back the way it was. He restored the Pandava's freedom, titles and wealth. Unfortunately, Bhima had sworn some pretty serious oaths to kill his cousins, and cousin Duryodhana was too filled with hate and fear to allow things to be left the way they were. The blind king then ordered Yuddistira to return for one final round of dice. The loser would give up his possessions and retire to the forest for 12...
Topics: Draupadi, Krishna, Duryodhana, Dushasan
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
486
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0
The Pandavas resume center stage as the main characters of this episode. They continue their trek through the mountains until the going gets too rough for Draupadi. Bhima summons his half-Rakshasa son, Gatotkacha, who can fly, and they are carried the rest of their journey to the Ashram of Nar-Narayan. While hanging out at this heavenly retreat, Draupadi sends Bhima off to find her some special lotus blossoms. Along the way, Bhima meets up with Hanuman, who it turns out is his brother (both are...
Topics: Gatotkacha, Hanuman, Kubera, Yaksha
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
506
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0
The white horse returns home, only to be tied to a post, killed, & cut up into little pieces. The priests do their best to follow the old rules, but there's no way Draupadi is going to pretend to copulate with a dead horse! Jump ahead 15 years and Dhrtarastra finally decides to take leave of worldly cares, and he, Gandhari, & Kunti leave for a forest ashram. One year after that, the Pandavas and many citizens pay a visit to the old folks, where Vyasa allows them all to re-unite with...
Topics: Ashwamedha, Dhrtarastra, Durvasas, Kunti, Satayupa, Vyasa
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
577
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While Arjun remains in heaven, relaxing with his father Indra, news reaches the Kaurava court of Arjun's exploits. Dhrtarastra then has one of his bouts of regret while Sanjay scolds him for being so stupid. We then cut over to the rest of the Pandavas, who are still living off the dirt in the foothills of Dehra Dun. Bhima is ready to chop off some heads and he takes his frustration out on his elder brother. The sage Brhadashva then shows up with a story of a king who actually had it worse off...
Topics: Brhadashva, Damayanti, Nala
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
470
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Yuddistira is finally convinced that he should remain king, and he gets down to business. He marches straight to the palace and has himself anointed and consecrated. He appoints his council and gets his kingdom in order. As soon as he has a chance to catch his breath, Krishna suggests that they hurry over to uncle Bhisma, who isn't long for this world. Along the way, Krishna tells the story of Battleaxe Rama, who wiped out the race of Kshatriyas 21 times in succession. The podcast may be taking...
Topics: Bhisma, Charvaka, Krishna, Parashurama, Rama Jamadagnya
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
759
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This episode is about Krishna's spectacular entry into international politics. Having established his manhood by cuckolding the entire tribe of cowherders, Krishna returns to Mathura to get his revenge on Kamsa. Killing Kamsa has repercussions, however, because Kamsa had a powerful ally in King Jarasandh. Krishna ends up killing more than 130 million soldiers as he defeated 17 armies raised by Jarasandh and an 18th army belonging to the Black Greek. You'd think there were no soldiers left in...
Topics: Kamsa, Krishna, Balaram, Ugrasena
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
681
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0
With this episode, we finally get back to the main characters and the main storyline. The news of the Pandava's emergence from obscurity has reached Hastinapur, and King Dhrtarastra has to make a decision-- does he go along with his favorite son and launch a surprise attack on Pancala? Or does he follow his uncle Bhisma's advice to make Yuddhistira heir to the throne. His conclusion is to try to strike an impossible balance between these two extremes, and he divides the kingdom, making...
Topics: Panchala, Indraprastha, Pandavas, Kauravas, Dhrtarastra
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
677
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0
The Dark Age is now unquestionably upon us. The elder Kurus, living austere lives in the forest, found themselves consumed by a forest fire of their own creation. Let this be a lesson to all you Hindu campers out there to douse your sacred campfires!! 18 years later, things go from bad to worse when news arrives of the death of Krishna and all his relatives. This story alone is deserving of an extended treatment, but we only get a sketchy account of how things went down. With the death of the...
Topics: Balarama, Daruka, Dhrtarastra, Krishna, Krtavarman, Samba, Samvarta, Satyaka
Drona is dead and a new commander is needed. Ashwatthaman proposes that Karna be given the position and everyone else agrees. Karna leads the army through a rather desultory day of fighting and then complains that what he is missing is a good driver. Shalya is drafted to be his charioteer. Shalya had promised to cause trouble should things come to this pass, and he lives up to it by constantly bickering with Karna. For some reason, Karna chooses this moment to confess how he deceived Rama...
Topics: Karna, Rama Jamadagnya, Shalya
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
578
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0
We follow Arjun's journey into the Himalayas and beyond. This episode includes Arjun's famous battle with the Mountain Man. He doesn't come out of the fight very well-- Shiva crushes him into a meatball and ends the fight. I like to think that he killed Arjun and then revived him and sent him on to Heaven, but the text is a bit vague; did he just get crushed, lose his eyesight and cease breathing? Or did he go all the way and die on us? Either way, he's sent off to his dad's kingdom up in...
Topics: Indra, Mountain Man, Shiva
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
380
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0
Two more stories from the Book of the Forest.  The first involves another Bhrgu Brahmin with a Kshatriya wife.  The second story, about Mahdhatar, is short, but interesting in how it differs from all the other stories we've had so far from Lomasha.The first story in this series, Nala, is about a King and his very loyal wife.  The subsequent stories were by and large about Brahmins with very loyal (Kshatriya) wives.  So each story so far has the element of an obedient wife despite hardship....
Topics: Sukanya, Cyavana
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
407
0
0
The second day of battle comes and goes. If the first day went to the Kauravas, the 2nd day certainly belonged to the Pandavas. The day ends with Bhimasena and Arjun dominating the field, and the Kaurava soldiers crapping their pants. The cream of Kalinga manhood has been exterminated on the field, and even their enemies are forced to admire the way the two brothers cleared the field of all comers. Lots more people died, but so far, not much has been accomplished. Maybe day 3 will go better? I...
Topics: Kurukshetra, Kalinga, Arjuna, Bhimasena
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
424
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0
Two significant deaths this episode-- first Gatotkacha basically gets sacrificed by Krishna so that Arjun need not face Karna's special unstoppable Indra Dart. It's a mean trick, but Krishna explained that one of the purposes of this war is to eradicate the race of Rakshasas, so if they didn't have Karna kill him, then they would have had to do it themselves. Besides, it was a small price to pay in order to save Arjun for the final showdown. The second big shot to go down is their old guru...
Topics: Ashwatthaman, Drona, Gatotkacha
Karna begins the 17th day of the war by fighting each Pandava except Arjun. He is actually defeated by both Yuddistira and Bhima, but then he defeats Nakul and Sahadev. Both of the elder brothers spare his life, out of consideration for Arjun's oaths. Yuddistira then goes for a second round with Karna, but this time it doesn't work out so well. Karna defeats Yuddistira and nearly captures him, but he reconsiders and lets the Pandava go. Yuddistira then flees to his camp to have his wounds...
Topics: Arjun, Krishna, Yudhistira
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
451
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0
So this is it; the moment everyone has been waiting for. Ever since Episode 7 when Duryodhana was born, he has finally received his well-deserved defeat. But even as he falls, the finger pointing, hand-wringing and grief at the price that has been paid for this victory has already begun. Balaram shows up just in time to referee the final death match between Bhima & Duryodhana, only to get really annoyed when Bhima is forced to bend the rules a bit in order to win.
Topics: Duryodhana, Balaram, Bhima
Earlier in day 15, Drona is killed by Dhrstadyumna. The Kaurava army literally comes unraveled until Ashwatthaman hears the news. The boy is outraged at the way his father was treated and swears revenge on both Dhrstadyumna (for killing him), and Yuddistira (for betraying his trust). Drona's son then pulls the army together and rushes to battle waving his WMD. First he tries to use the Narayana weapon, but Krishna is too tricky for that-- he knows its weakness, which is that it is ineffective...
Topics: Agneya, Ashwatthaman, Dhrstadyumna, Nar-Narayan, Narayana
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
506
0
0
These are the last three stories of the long series of tales in the Book of the Forest. The Pandavas are finishing up their pilgrimage across India and are moving northward for their rendezvous with Arjun. The first story, Yavakrita, is particularly interesting in that the protagonist is not a Twice-born. In this case, he's a rude and uppity Vaishya, but he's the main character nonetheless. I find the little detail about the Shudra gaurd particularly interesting. He works for Yavakri's father,...
Topics: Buddhism, Jantu, Yavakri, Yavakrita
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
427
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0
As if intending to seal his fate, Duryodhana warms up the Pandavas by sending over an odious gambler Uluka as a messenger to goad them into fighting. Then Bhisma kindly gives us an inventory of the fighters who will take place in the coming battle. There are a bunch of guys who I've never heard of, and do not seem to have any important role to play in the story, so I've left them out, trying to keep the cast of characters under control. As for the rest, they are all rated between Rathas and...
Topic: Uluka
Two more stories from the Sage Markandeya. The first is a rousing fight story, where the king of Ayodhya gets super powers from the god Vishnu and defeats a dragon. I find the second story more interesting. Yuddistira wants to know about the specific problems that women and servants must have in following their dharma. Markandeya replies with a story about a short-tempered Brahmin Kaushika, who encounters a particularly wise peasant woman, whose devotion to her husband grants her great wisdom...
Topics: butcher, Kaushika
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
847
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2
This episode covers the Pandava's departure for the forest and the initial fears of theKauravas as they considered what they had done. As things washed out, only the five brothers, Draupadi and a gaggle of Brahmins went into the forest. Yuddistira did some yoga and some austerities and memorized the 108 names of Surya, and was able to get the Sun God to give him the ability to magically feed everyone while they were in the forest. Please leave comments at iTunes. The more the better! Thanks!
( 2 reviews )
Topics: Aranyaka Parva, Pandavas, Draupadi, Surya
We begin the 14th day of the war. The morning starts with many dark omens, but no one is quite sure for which side they portend doom. Arjun sets off immediately to fight his way through the Kaurava army and to find and kill the miserable king Jayadratha. He & Krishna soon disappear into the hordes while Yuddistira struggles to avoid capture at the hands of Drona. By mid-day, with no news from the two Krishnas, Yuddistira begins to worry about them. He hears their conches and interprets the...
Topic: Alambusha
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
706
0
0
Drona has been in charge now for two days, and so far he has failed in his mission to capture Yuddistira. This despite the fact that they have sacrificed a whole nation of warriors just to keep Arjun away long enough for them to grab his brother. The Trigartas are nearly all dead so they need to come up with a new idea. This time, Drona implements a fancy new formation, based on a wheel, which few know how to break. It turns out that Abhimanyu is one of those who know its secrets. But with...
Topics: Abhimanyu, Daushasani, Jayadratha
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
399
0
0
The seventh and eighth days of the War. Bhisma kills a few more Dhartarastras, king Virata loses another son, and we meet Arjun's son Iravat, a Naga prince from Arjun's tour of the holy places, long long ago. We meet Iravat only to see him killed by the demon Alambusha. Alambusha is also the son of a famous father-- none other than the peculiar half-deer Rshyashrnga! In the story we get from the epic, Rshyashrnga's son is the child of a Kshatriya princess, and becomes Raja of the kingdom. We...
Topics: Alambusha, Iravat, Virata
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
496
0
0
The Pandavas continue their pilgrimage to all the holy sites of India. With Lomasha as their guide & storyteller, they hear the stories of Rshyashrnga and then the story of Rama Jamadagnya, or "Battle-Axe" Rama, who cut his own mother's head off and single-handedly killed off the entire race of Kshatriyas 21 times! Also, J.A.B. Van Buitenen, our translator for most of the podcast so far, gives us a hypothesis that the story of Rshyashrnga made its way to Medieval Europe in the...
Topics: Parashurama, Rama Jamadagnya, Rshyashrnga
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
746
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The further adventures of young Krishna. This time we cover his youth and teenage years. He kills a bunch of demons, imitates every boy in the clan plus all the calves, kicks Indra's butt, and then compels the girls to emerge naked from the river to retrieve their clothing-- all in the name of religion of course! He promises to each one of them that he will make love to them before the end of Autumn, and next episode, he'll make good on it!
Topics: Krishna, Kamsa, Balaram, Indra
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
435
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0
Vidur & Vyasa tell a few parables to help Dhrtarastra pull himself together. When the king is finally pacified, he leads all the bereaved women of Hastinapur in a great procession to deal with their fallen men. They march along the banks of the Ganga to Kurukshetra, where they encounter Ashwatthaman, Krpa & Krtavarman, who are still on the run after killing the Pandava's sons & allies. Ashwatthaman heads of to Vyasa's ashram, Krpa goes home to Hastinapur, and Krtavarman also heads...
Topics: Ashwatthaman, Karna, Krpa, Kunti
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
654
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0
This episode, Yuddistira gets it into his head that he should be King of the World! As he has been inclined to do since becoming king, he calls for Krishna to advise him on how to accomplish this task. Krishna tells him to send Bhima and Arjun to Magadha and get rid of his main rival to the imperial title, King Jarasandh. And so, Krishna, Bhima and Arjun go down to Magadha and pick a fight with Jarasandh. Bhima wrestles the old guy for fourteen days and finally body-slams him, killing him...
Topics: Jarasandh, Magadha, Bhima, Krishna
It is the morning of the first day of battle. Already Krishna has revealed his great song to Arjuna, and now there are some final formalities, as Yuddistira runs to his elders on the enemy side for their blessings. Krishan tags along and tries to tempt Karna over to the Pandava side, just until Bhisma is dead. It must have been tempting, since it would have given him the chance to even kill the old bugger. But Karna is too loyal to go for such an under-handed thing. He turns Krishna down...
Topics: Kurukshetra, Yuyutsu
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
503
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0
We get treated to a last handful of the Final Teachings, and then Bhisma dies. The poor guy set quite an objective for himself. It must have been mid autumn when he was shot through with arrows, yet he clung to life until the Winter Solstice before finally giving up the ghost. He says he lived on the bed of arrows for a total of 58 days. Following his death, Yuddistira has another one of his fits of sorrow & regret, but he's snapped out of it by hearing a story about how the ancient king...
Topics: Bhisma, Brhaspati, Ganga, Marutta, Samvarta
Mahabharata Podcast
497
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For some reason, the first three full-fledged stories from the Anusasana Parva all center around a Banian tree. They also share the theme of low-caste hunters and their cruelty. Remarkably, in the 2nd story the three characters are all saved, but all three die violently. In the 3rd story, the Brahmin Gautama is an unreformed scoundrel, but he is brought back to life! NOTE: I ran out of allotted space on my ISP, so this audio file got truncated. I've modified this post to point to another site:...
Topics: Gautama, Rajadharman, Virupaksha
Mahabharata Podcast
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This episode covers the marriage of the three princes Dhritarastra, Pandu and Vidura. Here's the map I promised of India during the time of the Mahabharata. What's important to notice is that first, the Kuru nation was in a very central location and must have been very important in the politics of the age. The Himalaya mountains acted as an enormous bulwark, keeping each kingdom safe from attack from the north. Thus the marriage alliances seemingly secured peace with neighbors to the west and...
Topics: Arjuna, Bhima, Bhimasena, Duryodhana, Ghandara, Ghandari, Kauravas, Kunti, Madri, Nakula, Pandavas,...
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
158
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Two more stories from the Book of the Forest. The first involves another Bhrgu Brahmin with a Kshatriya wife. The second story, about Mahdhatar, is short, but interesting in how it differs from all the other stories we've had so far from Lomasha. The first story in this series, Nala, is about a King and his very loyal wife. The subsequent stories were by and large about Brahmins with very loyal (Kshatriya) wives. So each story so far has the element of an obedient wife despite hardship....
Topics: Barghava, Bhrgu, Cyavana, Mandhatar, Sukanya
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
499
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This is another eventful episode. Krishna & Arjun take a break and go on a leisure trip to Indraprastha, where it appears Arjun is king. Both heroes have forgotten the Gita, so Krishna recalls another dialog along the same lines, which is called the Anugita. Krishna goes home, while the Pandavas go prospecting for gold in the hills. While they are away, Parkshit is born, or rather still-born. Krishna arrives in time to make good his promise and revives the kid. When the Pandavas return with...
Topics: Anugita, Citrangada, Manipur, Parikshit, Ulupi, Utanka, Uttara, Vabruvahana
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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This is a long one - over 30 minutes, but I'm pretty happy with how it came out. You might have noticed that I'm still experimenting with the audio, and I think this one came out clearer than the rest. I'm trying to keep the file sizes under control, so it is a matter of striking a good balance. Also, the story is getting interesting. We've got a few good fight scenes, plus Vyasa intervenes a couple of times to keep the story on track, and we get to meet Krishna for the first time! By the end,...
Topics: Drupad, Drupada, Panchala, Panchali, Draupadi
While Krishna is still hanging out at the camp, the sages Narada and Markandeya show up. After some prodding, Markandeya finally opens up and gives us his take on reincarnation, sin and the afterlife. He follows that up with two stories about Brahmins, and then gives us his rendition of the Fish, Manu, and the Flood. I also present my theory that the five Pandavas are somehow correllated with the five extremities of the human body. Yuddistira is clearly the head, while Bhima is associated with...
Topic: Markandeya
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
499
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Sanjay's mission clearly did not accomplish much, so this time Krishna offers to go to Hastinapur as the Pandavas' chief negotiator. When the Kauravas hear he is coming, Dhrtarastra plans on bribing him, while Duryodhana hopes to imprison him. Krishna senses all the bad vibes and decides to only stay & eat with Vidur. He also visits with the Pandavas' poor widowed mother Kunti, whom he tries to console. Surprisingly, Kunti blames her father for all her suffering. Kunti's father, Sura, was...
Topics: Durvasas, Krishna, Kunti
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
711
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Things get hot and heavy this episode, when Krishna plays a tune on his magic flute and all the girls come running. The association of religious devotion with carnal love is found in Sikhism, Sufi Islam and even mystical Christianity. I've always suspected that the idea was born in India as Bhakti and then gradually made its way westward through the Islamic world and finally into Western Christianity. It would be an interesting study-- the timelines certainly fit! Next episode, we'll get back...
Topics: Krishna, Radha, Gopi
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
725
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This is the final installment of the "Krishna Episodes", where I've covered Krishna's back story up to and beyond the point when the Pandavas met him in Panchala. There are still some interesting details in the Bhagavata Purana which I want to compare with later events in the Mahabharata, so I'm not completely done with that book, but for the upcoming episodes, we'll get back to the Mahabharata and see what the Pandavas do next.
Topics: Balarama, Jarasandh, Krishna, Rukmi, Rukmini, Sishupal
Mahabharata Podcast
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This is the final piece that brings us around, back to the beginning. We covered some of this territory before, back in Episode 2, but at the time, it was hard to explain that Parikshit was Arjun's grandson and that Takshaka had an ancient feud with the dynasty going back to the fire at the Khandava Forest. Also, back then we were anxious to get going with the story itself, and all the digressions with angry brahmins and talking snakes only made things confusing at the time. So now we have...
Topics: Astika, Janemejaya, Parikshit, Takshaka, Ugrashravas, Vaishampayana, Vasuki
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
634
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This is a big one; this episode covers the tangled details of the incident that sets off the rest of the story. At the heart of it, it is about Duryodhana and Shakuni cheating at dice to win from the Pandavas all their possessions and even their freedom. That much is clear, and the match culminates in the deliberate humiliation of Draupadi before the court. Bhima swears oaths to kill both Duryodhana and his younger brother Dushasan, and the future conflict all arises from the fears and hatred...
Topics: Dice Game, Yudhistira, Kaurava, Duryodhana, Shakuni
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
509
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We finish off the Book of the Forest with a couple of the more famous vignettes from the epic. The first is the classic tale in which Karna is forewarned that Indra will come to beg from him his magical armor & earrings, but Karna refuses to prevent it. He lives up to his claim of complete generosity and literally flays the armor off of his body and hands it all over to Indra. Since transactions with Gods usually go both ways, Karna for his part demanded the "Never-failing Spear",...
Topics: Karna, Yaksha
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
470
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Now that both sides are armed to the teeth and infested with vast armies, they are ready to talk peace terms. The Pandavas start the first round by sending Drupad's unnamed priest as their ambassador. This priest travels to Hastinapur and asks only for the terms of the Dice Game to be fulfilled. Dhrtarastra responds well enough, sending his Charioteer Sanjay as the returning ambassador. Sanjay's message is also for peace, but the terms are rather unacceptable. The Kauravas suggested that the...
Topics: Sanatsujata, Sanjay, Vidur
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
906
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We finally get started with Krishna. His mother and father were both of the house of Yadu in Mathura-- Krishna's mother Devaki was King Ugrasena's daughter. Unfortunately, Devaki's brother, Crown Prince Kamsa was a bad guy, and he got an early warning that his sister's eighth child would be the death of him. After a palace coup, King Kamsa threw Devaki and Vasudeva into prison and killed their first six babies as soon as they were born. The seventh child, Balaram, was magically transported into...
Topics: Balarama, Devaki, Kamsa, Krishna, Vasudeva
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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Well, it seems there is no end to the tit for tat revenge cycle that Duryodhana forced into motion so long ago. Now that he has been defeated, his survivors seek revenge for his fall. Ashwatthaman is unable to let it go, and since he is vastly outnumbered, he prays to Shiva for the power to kill his enemies. Shiva allows him to exterminate the remains of the Pandava army while they sleep. So now there will be another vendetta. How much further can this go? Find out next time!
Topics: Ashwatthaman, Draupadeyas, Shiva
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
557
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We finish the story of Nala. Brhadashva suggested that this story would cheer up the Pandavas, since there was indeed a king who had it worse than they. But shortly after hearing the story, they get news that Arjun was up on a mountain top starving himself and they were once again plunged into depression and hopelessness. At least Yuddistira learned Nala's dicing secrets, so he need not worry about another match with Shakuni. The story of Nala as it is told in the Mahabharata has some...
Topics: Dvapar, Dvaparyuga, Kali, Kaliyuga
Bhisma is out of commission, and his book is nearly over. In one last scene, Karna comes to meet his fallen nemesis. Bhisma is quite affectionate toward his prodigal nephew, and he tells him that he was only pretending to be antagonistic. He really didn't mean it, he just wanted to discourage Karna from enabling Duryodhana's evil ways. Bhisma begs Karna to forget his grievances and to join with his brothers and end the war this moment. But Karna is too far gone. He owes Duryodhana too much, and...
Topic: Drona Parva
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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So this is it-- the final installment from the Mahabharata. Book 18, the Svargarohanika Parva, is done, and the 18 parvas of the Mahabharata are now complete. Please be sure to visit my blog and let me know you made it! And then treat yourself to something nice, because you have really accomplished something. We've reached the end of the story, but this isn't quite the end of the podcast. You can expect a few more episodes-- an epilogue where the story is carried forward up to the time of the...
Topic: Svargarohanika Parva
We continue with the events of the 14th day of war. You can relax because we find out that both Satyaki and Bhim made it to Arjun's side, and everyone is OK after all. Arjun finally spots Jayadratha, but he is very well protected, and the sun is about to set. It is time for one of Krishna's tricks! Following Jayadratha's "exploding head syndrome", the Kauravas are so bent out of shape that they ignore the sunset and just keep fighting. Next episode will cover the night battle of the...
Topics: Gatotkacha, Jayadratha
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
466
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This episode begins the voluminous Last Teachings of Bhisma. As Bhisma lies on his bed of arrows, the Pandavas, Krishna & Satyaki gather around to listen. Yuddistira poses the questions, which mostly revolve around Dharma and kingship, and Bhisma answers. These teachings are exceptionally difficult to convey in the form of a podcast, mostly because they are so boring. There are very few stories, and most of the stories revolve around conversations in which one character instructs the other...
Topic: Bhisma
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
491
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The Pandavas have come out of hiding and are demanding their lands back from the Kauravas. Duryodhana has already indicated that he has no interest in giving these back, so it would be best to negotiate from a position of strength. An arms race ensues, with both sides scrambling to get commitments from their allies across India and beyond. Duryodhana wins the first couple of rounds at this game. He rushes to Dwaraka, and gets Krishna to commit his armies to the Kaurava side. The Pandavas get...
Topics: Indra, Nahusha, Sachi, Shalya
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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I've put together my review of the epic, in its totality. I discuss the strange way in which the epic goes into fine detail on some parts of the story, and breezes over others. Some of the most critical moments in the story, like when Dhrtarastra was skipped and then later made king, or during the dice game, or in dealing with the birth & death of Krishna, the story is ambiguous and full of holes. The only explanation that I can come up with is that the author himself may not have known...
Topics: Bhakti, Channeling, False Vasudev, Karma Yoga, Krishna, Vyasa
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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This is the last episode that covers Book 7 of the Mahabharata, called "The Origins". Almost all of the story I have covered so far comes from Book 7. The earlier books are much shorter, and full of geneologies and creation myths that are almost impossible to make narrative sense of, so I left a lot of that out! I spend some time at the beginning of this episode describing what we're up against in terms of the original Mahabharata as a source. Then the story gets under way, where we...
Topics: Arjun, Bhima, Drona, Krpa, Shakuni
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
543
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The four Pandavas who were left in the forest set off on a tour of the sacred sites of Ancient India, with the Sage Lomasha as their guide. At a stopover near the historic hermitage that once belonged to Agastya, we are treated to one of the stories about this fabled hermit. I have to confess to skipping a second story, because I simply couldn't make much sense of it. While it tangentially involved Agastya, it also involved King Sagara, whose wife gave birth to a pumpkin and he was advised to...
Topics: Agastya, Lomasha
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
658
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The Pandavas range the Four Directions and conquer the world, bringing home mountains of treasure. Soon after, the Rajasuya Sacrifice commences. Krishna is given the top honor among the guests and this causes a tumult of disgruntled kings and nobles. They point out the problem that has become apparent in the story, which is that Krishna is a nobody in terms of societal ranking. He's a former cowherder from a caste of shudras who claims his father is a prince (alas, there were no witnesses to...
Topics: Krishna, Rajasuya, Rukmi, Rukmini, Sishupal
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
1,782
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Vaisampayana begins telling the Mahabharata, beginning by telling us that Vyasa spent three years daily working on the poem. Following that, we hear about the Fishy-Fragrant Satyavati and Vyasa's birth.
Topics: Mahabharata, Satyavati, Vaisampayana, Vyasa
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
437
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Bhisma begins telling the story of Amba/Sikhandin-- the only person, barring the Pandavas, whom he will not fight in the coming battle. The reason for this is that Sikhandin had once been a female. She was not just any female at that-- she was Draupadi's sister, and in her past life, she'd had a bad run-in with Bhisma, making her his sworn enemy from beyond the grave. We begin the story with Amba's abduction, along with her sisters Ambika and Ambalika, by Bhisma to provide wives for his...
Topics: Amba, Rama Jamadagnya
Let's admit it, we were all impatient for this war to get started. Like the characters in the story, we concluded many episodes back that there was never going to be a peaceful solution, and it would take nothing less than a massive bloodletting to make sure the bad guys were punished and the good guys got their rightful honors. But now that the war has started, those frustrating days of exile in the forest are looking more attractive. Sure, we all feel that Duryodhana deserves a good kick in...
Topics: Bhisma, Kurukshetra, Arjuna
We begin the famous holy book, the Bhagavad Gita. The scene for this revelation is the midst of the fateful battlefield of Kurukshetra. Arjun surveys the field, seeing his relatives, friends, cousins, uncles, elders and gurus, all ready to draw each other's blood and die for the sake of his dynastic dispute. For the good guys to win, Arjun will personally be responsible for the death of the people he respects the most in the whole world. He simple cannot go on with it. Arjun drops his bow and...
Topics: Bhagavad Gita, Krishna, Arjun, Arjuna
I present my wild theories and hypotheses about the Mahabharata. Among other things, we discuss its relationship to the Precession of the Equinoxes and the Yuga cycle as defined by Markandeya and Sri Yukteshvar. We look into the role of magic in the story and our prospects for regaining this lost knowledge in the future. We delve into the mystery of the metaphysical origins of the Pandavas and consider whether the five brothers might have originally been based on just a single hero-- the...
Topics: Joseph Selbie, Markandeya, Precession, proto-Arjun, Sri Yukteshvar, The Yugas
The continuing adventures of the Pandavas in the forest. The story picks up with Maitreya's curse and angry departure from the court at Hastinapur. Dhrtarastra, apparently tired of all the dire predictions decides it is time for a fight scene, and asks Vidur to tell the story of Bhima and Kirmira. Vidur then recites the battle scene as Bhima kills another Rakshasa. We then move back to the forest where a meeting of the Pandavas' allies is taking place, Krishna among them. Krishna and Arjun...
Topics: Saubha, Shalva, Vimana
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
893
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This episode is the first in a series that will break away from the Mahabharata and use the Bhagavata Purana as the primary source instead. This is necessary if you want to find out Krishna's life stories. Up until the Pandavas meet Krishna at Draupadi's Swayamvara, no mention is made of Krishna's birth, childhood, or rise to power. That information is only available in other books, and the main source is the Bhagavata Purana. The first time I read a faithful translation of the Mahabharata, I...
Topics: Devayani, Krishna, Puru, Sarmishta, Shukra, Vrishaparva, Yadu, Yayati
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
575
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We begin this episode with the tale of Krishna's adventures when he might otherwise have helped his friends in their distress. At least he got a few good fight scenes out of it, including his son Pradyumna performing heroic feats defending Dwarka, and a ground-to-air battle with a flying city! When Krishna is done with his exciting tale, the allies pack up and head for home. The tacit understanding seems to be that they will wait until the 13 years are up and only then will they come up with a...
Topics: Saubha Vimana, Shalva, Vimana
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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I briefly give my opinion of the previous episode on Shakuntala and Dushanta, and then get going with the birth of mighty Bhisma and his two not-so-mighty brothers. This is an important episode, because in many ways, it is Bhisma's over-reaction to his father's desires that ultimately sets the whole tragedy in motion.
Topics: Bhisma, Dyaus, Santanu, Satyavati, Vasishtha
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
506
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It's deja-vu all over again, as the Pandavas move from the hermitage of Nar-Narayan to another one on the slopes of Mt Kailash, named for Arstisena. Another flower wafts down the hill, and Draupadi again sends Bhima off in search of the source. Bhima completely forgets Yuddistira's injunction about making trouble and he invades Kubera's kingdom, starting a war with the god's "genial leprechaun" army. There's no Hanuman this time around, but we do at least get an explanation for...
Topics: Agastya, Arstisena, Kubera, Manimat, Nivatakavacas, Vimana
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
475
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This one covers Duryodhana's reaction to the humiliation of being captured by the Gandharvas and then released by the valor of his hated cousins the Pandavas. Unable to face his clan after the ignominious defeat, the prince resolves to sit down and starve himself to death. This decision sets off alarm bells in Hell, where the Daityas and Danavas have big plans for Duryodhana. They summon a genie and have her deliver Duryodhana to them, and they tell him about the cosmic nature of this conflict,...
Topics: Daityas, Danavas, Duryodhana, Karna, Vaishnava